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NBA Lockout: Deal or No Deal?

"...We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving..."

 

by Jeff “The King” Horowitz

 

Last night, on Day 133 of the NBA Lockout, Commissioner David Stern laid out what is to be the NBA’s “final best offer” to it’s players.

Simply put, Stern is telling the 430 NBA players to either accept their crappy offer, or reject it – and take an even crappier deal months down the road.

Monday or Tuesday of next week will officially be ‘Judgement Day’ for the National Basketball Association as we know it. If the players accept the deal, a 72 game, lockout-shortened season will get underway just in time for Christmas. If the players union reject the NBA’s offer, there’s a good chance the entire 2011-2012 NBA season will be wiped out.

 

“The Split”

As it stands, the NBA offered Players a 50/50 split of “BRI”, or Basketball Related Income. I realize 50/50 sounds “fair”, but for the past 13 years, NBA players have earned 57% of “BRI”. That generous 57/43 split has enabled marginal players like James Posey and Marvin Williams to earn $8 million/ year – while the teams they play for (Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers) claim to be losing $10 millon every year. The 7% NBA players will have to surrender, should they accept the deal, translates into $1 Billion shifting from the players pockets to the owners over the next 6 years.

In my opinion, this would be a bad deal for the players. The NBA owners have been negotiating in extremely bad faith – basically saying “It’s our way, or the unemployment highway”.  Bottom line: the NBA owners have all of the leverage in this battle, and they’ll get the deal that they want.

As reasonable as “50/50” might sound to people – the Players have made concession after concession at the bargaining table, while Owners only say “Give Us More!”

The worst part of this lockout is – many of the small market owners in cities like Indianapolis, Cleveland, Sacramento, Milwaukee and Portland actually don’t care if the season is cancelled, since they claim to be losing money either way.

The pictorial definition of a "shit-eating grin"

 

Michael “Sellout” Jordan

The biggest shock of all is the newest leader of the hard-line, small market owners: one Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Jordan earned over $160 million playing professional basketball for the Chicago Bulls from 1984-1998. During the 1997-1998 season, MJ collected $36 million for playing 8 months of basketball – still the largest single-season salary in NBA history.

During the 1998 NBA lockout, Jordan famously screamed at the late Washington Wizards owner, Abe Pollin, “If you cannot make a profit, you should sell your damn team!” Now 13 years later, Jordan is the owner of the small-market Charlotte Bobcats, and he’s complaining that he cannot make a profit under the current system.

Today, Michael Jordan has a net worth of close to $1 Billion dollars because he was really great at doing two things: playing basketball, and selling sneakers. Now as an owner, he wants to cripple today’s players’ earning capacity so he can make even more money. Two words come to mind: Hypocrite. Sellout.

Also, MJ has to stop complaining that he can’t field a competitive team down in Charlotte because the NBA has a“broken system”. Here’s some advice – don’t select Adam Morrison with the # 3 overall pick in the draft; Charlotte can’t compete because other teams actually know how to put a roster together. Don’t forget this is the same Jordan who selected Kwame Brown with the #1 overall pick for the Wizards in 2001. Jordan might be the greatest player of all time, but he’s the worst GM of all time as well.

"This is basically how far up your ass I'll be after screwing you in this new deal"

 

“The System”

Besides the issue of the BRI split, there is also the issue of “The System”. The “system” refers to everything from the NBA salary cap, length of players contracts, annual raises, luxury tax, cap exceptions and so on.

The Players Union begrudgingly agreed to shorten the length of player contracts from 6 years to 5, (4 years for “Non-Bird” free agents) and % of annual raises from 10.5% to 4%. The NBA also wants to tax the hell out of teams like the LA Lakers, Miami Heat, NY Knicks, and Dallas Mavericks to create “competitive balance”. Basically they hope smaller-market teams with less money will be able to shop for marquee free agents, since the big market teams will be stifled by the new luxury tax restrictions.

Once again, the bottom line here is: the owners are the ones signing the checks, and they’re out for blood. It seems this group of hard-line, smaller market NBA owners are not just interested in beating the players – they are looking to run up the score, and blow them out.

Last night at 11:30pm, a very tired David Stern walked up to the podium and said, “There comes a time when you have to be through negotiating… and we are.”

Stern and the NBA owners have given the players a “take it or leave it” ultimatum. The deadline is Tuesday, November 15. If the players don’t accept the deal, we can kiss the NBA season goodbye.

What’s it gonna be — Deal, or No Deal?

I hate to suggest anything that would reward Stern’s and the Owners’ bad faith techniques, but it’s a losing battle at this point. It’s time for Players to take the damn deal, and get back on the hardwood.

"Gilbert... don't shoot! I'm just the messenger."

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